By: KDKA-TV’s Amy Wadas

ALLEGHENY COUNTY, Pa. (KDKA) — Whether children learn in the classroom or virtually this fall, back to school will be a little different this year.

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Many parents are concerned about their children wearing masks. But for parents whose children have special needs, there are even more things to take into consideration.

Bob Huber’s son is headed into his senior year at Pine-Richland High School. He’s high functioning on the autism spectrum.

“It’s just prodding him along more than anything else, just encouragement,” said Huber.

That’s why Huber said going back to school is so important when it comes to his son’s success.

Pine-Richland is giving parents with kids who have special needs in grades K through 12 the option to choose full-time schooling. They can also choose from a hybrid model or remote learning. Huber is choosing to send his son back to school five days a week. However, that’s not always an easy decision for parents to make.

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“How is my child, with a disability — who may also have chronic healthcare issues — how is my child going to be safe?” said Nancy Murray, the senior vice president of Achieva.

Achieva is a local organization that serves people with disabilities and their families. Murray said many students with special needs also need constant reminders to do things like washing their hands and hands-on assistance.

“They need a teacher or an aid sitting next to them to give them cues, to help them with their lessons and that’s not going to be available to them virtually,” said Murray.

“I think push the district in whatever way they can. I hate to say it, but the squeaky wheel gets the grease. You’re your best advocate for your son, daughter,” said Huber.

That’s exactly what Murray suggests, too. Murray also suggests setting up a routine at home.

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Have your meals at the same time every day, and don’t forget to include recess, too.